Lent 2

SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT Hymns: NEH 65, 68, 282, 70

FIRST READING Genesis 17.1-7,15-16 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.' God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 22 Response: All the ends of the earth shall turn to you, O Lord.

I will tell of your name to my brethren and praise you where they are assembled.

‘You who fear the Lord, give him praise; all sons of Jacob, give him glory. Revere him, Israel’s sons.’ R

You are my praise in the great assembly. My vows I will pay before those who fear him.

The poor shall eat and shall have their fill. They shall praise the Lord, those who seek him.

May their hearts live for ever and ever. R

All the earth shall remember and return to the Lord, all families of the nations worship before him.

They shall tell of the Lord to generations yet to come,

declare his faithfulness to peoples yet unborn: ‘These things the Lord has done.’ R

SECOND READING Romans 4.13-25 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

GOSPEL Mark 8.31-38 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

Could you pass on this sheet to someone else who might like to see it?


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Today in the Vestry Hall we are having a Frugal Lent Lunch, in which everyone is invited to join. Enjoy a simple lunch of soup, bread, cheese and fruit, and give what you would normally have spent on Sunday lunch to the Knightrider Street Foodbank – a bowl for donations will be found in the hall.

Thank you to Sara and to everyone else who helped with the preparations!

Thank you, too, to Fr Paul Kish for inviting folk from St Michael's to join the Yalding Benefice Quiet Afternoon at historic Capel Church on Saturday, 12 noon-4 pm. It's good to have a solid group coming from St Michael's; anyone else who would like to join us, please do! Eleanor has some space in her car.

In Lent it makes sense to give some extra time and attention to our prayers. Please, then, continue to pray earnestly for Fr John, as he prepares to join us, and for our parish, as we prepare to go onward under his leadership. Fr John's Licensing, on 21st March at 7 pm, will be an inspiring occasion at which we shall welcome many visitors, not least Bishop Norman (his last visit to St Michael's before he retires) – and it's also an occasion on which we are all invited to commit ourselves afresh to working for the coming of the Kingdom in this part of Maidstone. Please make sure it's in your diary, and think what help you could offer to Alison P and Sue, who are in charge of the refreshments.

We at St Michael's are among several hundred parishes in England affiliated to Forward in Faith. Some of us are also individual members of FiF. FiF isn't, as is sometimes suggested, an organisation that was created by dinosaurs and is against women. What matters is what it is for – which includes the seal of the confessional and the traditional Christian doctrine of marriage. To continue its work and witness, FiF needs to go on recruiting new members. If you would like to know more, visit forwardinfaith.com. The modest annual subscription includes the excellent monthly magazine New Directions and the quarterly newspaperTogether. New Directions is circulated, and appreciated, among members of our congregation who haven't yet joined up; if you are among them, how about joining up now and getting a copy of your own to pass on?

Readers' List for March

Thanks, as always, to all our readers - and new readers are always welcome, particularly anyone who would like to join in the Vigil readings on Holy Saturday. If unable to read on the day listed, please try to arrange a swap….

Sunday 3rd March OT Mike Trout, NT Catherine Garland

Sunday 10th March OT Ralph Baldock NT Margaret Gatehouse

Sunday 17th March OT Alison Heywood NT Eleanor Relle

Palm Sunday OT Team Kwalombota NT William Danes-Volkov

Maundy Thursday OT Ralph Baldock NT Mike Trout

Good Friday OT and Ps Alison Heywood NT William Danes-Volkov St John Passion tba

Holy Saturday Vigil readings tba NT Margaret Gatehouse

Easter Day: Acts and Ps Team Kwalombota NT Catherine Garland

World Day of Prayer – no longer Women's World Day of Prayer (though there is still a strong feminine input). Everyone is invited to the special service, which takes place at St Nicholas', Poplar Grove, on 1st March at 2 pm, and will be followed by refreshments.

Lay ministry comes in all shapes and sizes, as do lay ministers! Our diocese offers all sorts of opportunities to explore possibilities and undertake training for, e.g., pastoral ministry, Anna Chaplaincy, Reader ministry and ministry to the bereaved. Could God be calling you to think about this? A newly-updated section of the diocesan website offers many possible leads: visit https://www.canterburydiocese.org/ministry/recognising-lay-ministry/ to find out more.

We pray for sick people everywhere, including: Paul, Margaret, Ellie, Pauline, Rue, Fr Leon, Antony, Fran, Ellie, Tom, Joseph, Peter, Joan, Margaret, Lindsay, Glynis, Ethan, Sarah, Yvonne, and HM The King. We give thanks for Neeraj's continued progress.

And among the Departed we remember: Jean Hemings, recently departed, and those whose anniversaries occur at this time, including: Doris Mason, Alice Roberts, Ken Gibbons, Barbara Sage, Gwen Vanstone, Brian Pope, and Molly Johnson.